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Social Justice Education

Black Lives Matter. Racial justice and social justice must be prioritized in our work and on our campuses. It is our responsibility and obligation to educate ourselves. There is no excuse for not putting in the work and engaging in these conversations. Wherever you are in the process of educating yourself about social justice, here are some recommendations and resources that you can engage in.

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5 Questions to Ask

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Looking Back & to the Future: Government Relations

Over the past three years I have had the opportunity to lead our Government Relations Committee, while serving as Government Relations Chair for Iowa ACAC. Through this experience, we have successfully put on 2½ Visit the Hill events for high school students, counselors, admission professionals, and more (½  because the first year I took over there was a crazy ice/snow storm where we probably should have canceled the event, but didn’t, and only a few people ventured out to attend!). These events have had really awesome sessions, where hundreds of people have been able to learn more about issues that directly impact them. I will always be grateful and appreciative for the Government Relations committee members. They are the real reason why these events have been so successful and it has been a joy to work alongside them!

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Reflections on 54 Years of School Counseling

With 54 years there have been so many changes in education and counseling!! My comments below are based on 36 years in the Waterloo Community School District and 18 years in the Iowa City Community School District as a teacher, school counselor, district student services coordinator, assistant principal, part-time college teacher, and academic adviser.

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President Profile

Meet our 2020-2021 Iowa ACAC President Tara Winter!

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COVID-19 from the High School Student Perspective

Last month, we reflected on how COVID-19 is impacting admission professionals, especially with the adjustment to virtual recruitment and working from home. This month, we wanted to hear from current high school students about their experiences during the pandemic, including online courses and a virtual college search process. Three students participated in the interview via email. Alex and Marta are high school juniors from Iowa City West High School; they are at the beginning of their college search process. Brooke is a senior from Glenbrook North High School in Illinois who plans to attend the University of Iowa. Thank you to all three of them for answering our questions!

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Two Sides of the Same Student Coin

Professional school counselors and college admissions counselors can work together to help students in innumerable ways through the college decision process. Working as partners, they can call upon the skills and expertise of each to provide the best information and most satisfying college search process for students. As a former professional school counselor, now college admissions counselor, I see many ways the two groups can work together for students.

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Generational Diversity

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) conference in San Diego, CA. The theme of the conference was “crossing borders and bridging communities”. There was one particular session I attended during my time at the conference that stuck out to me and it was a session about generational diversity.

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Life in the Home Office

The world has changed so much since our last edition of Scenes. Last month, I had drafted an article around the first of March about staying healthy during spring travel. The article including some tips about avoiding the flu, and just barely touched on COVID-19. By the timeAdmissions team videoconference we got ready to publish Scenes in the middle of the month, most of us were working from home, classes were transitioning to a virtual format, and students were moving out of the residence halls. Things certainly changed fast!

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Iowa ACAC Past-President Nominated

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Changes of Scenery



  • The University of Iowa has hired two new event coordinators: Kate Bolton and Sarah Overbergen.
  • Iowa College Aid welcomes Elizabeth Yaddof to its Community Engagement Team. Liz facilitates Iowa College Aid's statewide texting program to assist students who receive the Last Dollar Scholarship, as well as high school students transitioning into college. Through texting Liz is able to connect students to services on campus and ensure they are setup for success through the duration of their program. 
  • Iowa College Aid also recently began a College Success Coach program, which is facilitated by Keyli Keifer. The College Success Coaches are placed on campuses to assist students receiving the Last Dollar Scholarship and ensure they are meeting the program requirements.  
  • ISCA selected Theresa Putnam-Genz as the Multi-Level School Counselor of the Year; Amanda Stenes as the High School Counselor of the Year; and Dave Ford as the Advocate of the Year. Congratulations to these recipients!

Welcome and congratulations!

Visit the HIll

On Thursday, February 27, higher education professionals, school counselors, grad students, and high school and middle school students all came together for one event: Visit the Hill. Visit the Hill is an annual event hosted by Iowa ACAC’s Government Relations Committee. It is a time to gather and learn more about the various issues that students, educators, and educational institutions face and be informed on ways we can make a difference on these issues.

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Finding Balance and Peace

The postsecondary search and application process is meant to be reserved as a time for reflection, growth, maturity, and self-discovery for our students. Unfortunately, many of our teenagers face unrealistic expectations and experience extreme stress, anxiety, and depression. Having open and honest dialogue with students about the battles has become a core part of school counseling and admissions/orientation/advising programs around the world. As our students face barriers, we as secondary and postsecondary leaders do everything we can to stand alongside them through the trenches. We offer support and guidance in times of need, and often shelter them from the pain they fear. But sometimes, we forget the burden that takes on us and our colleagues.

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What Does Out of Pocket Really Mean?

We’re recruiters. Our titles may differ, but our jobs have the same goal: to recruit students to our College/University. Personally, I was offended when someone first told me this with such a blatant disregard for my personal style of work. I don’t like to think of myself as a “salesperson” but at the end of the day we are working to “sell” our school to people.

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Food is Everything

This is the third part of an Iowa ACAC series on food in Iowa. Join us as we explore food in our state, food on campuses across Iowa, places 
you should find, and much more.

“He who eats alone chokes alone.”

“Life is too short to eat bad food.”

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What's New in Higher Education & Admissions?

The University of California system is facing a lawsuit unless they eliminate their ACT or SAT requirement for admission. Back in October, the University of California was threatened with a lawsuit unless it drops its standardized test requirement. Lawyers representing the Compton Unified School district, college-access organizations, civil-rights groups, and students sent a letter to the UC system’s Board of Regents, stating that the ACT/SAT requirement violates civil rights laws in the state of California. The argument is that well-qualified students are being discriminated against, particularly underrepresented minority students, students whose first language is not English, students who have disabilities, and students from a lower socioeconomic status. If the UC system decides to drop the test requirement, many other institutions may choose to do the same, with massive impacts on ACT and the College Board. Check out the Chronicle of Higher Education for more information.

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Communicating with High School Students

Whether you are a high school counselor or an admissions counselor, you have probably all been scratching your heads trying to figure out the best way to disseminate information to high school students. As a school counselor, I find myself counting on both hands the number of times I have to repeat myself or refer students to the same resource to find information. We have asked students many times at Linn-Mar what the best way is to get information out to them (see table below). You can see that text messaging ranks highest with email and Twitter following closely behind. Below is a list of 5 resources that we have found helpful when communicating with students.

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Membership Renewals

With the Freddy Miranda Access Scholarship deadline approaching, it's a good time to remind everyone to renew those memberships, if need be.

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Resolutions Out, VTH Goals In!

This year don't set resolutions, set goals instead and make a difference.

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